The citizens of Eddyville were asked to shelter in place for several hours Wednesday night and Thursday morning after a chemical leak at the Ajinomoto plant was discovered.

According to the Mahaska County Emergency Management Agency, the Mahaska County 911 Center was notified of a chemical release around 8:19 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 a the Ajinomoto facility in Eddyville.

There was first a call for the entire city of Eddyville to evacuate, but the Mahaska County EMA, Wapello County EMA and Monroe County EMA (ADLM) were able to determine that citizens should shelter in place after assessing the situation.

According to Mahaska County EMA Director Jamey Robinson, the spill was of hydrochloric acid and was caused by a faulty valve on a tank. The physical spill of the acid was contained to the Ajinomoto property.

“Within the containment walls that are designed to house the chemical in the event of a tank failure,” said Mahaska EMA Director Jamey Robinson.

The leak did cause a chemical plume to be released into the air however.

“Yes because of the high humidity and the sudden, uncontrolled discharge from the tank,” said Robinson.

The shelter in place order was lifted around 1 a.m. and trained workers are cleaning up the chemical. Robinson said first responders were on site until around 3 a.m. and that emergency management is working with Ajinomoto to finish the clean up but that Ajinomoto staff are in charge.

“It’s their product on their property,” said Robinson. “As long as it doesn’t cause any threat to the public or to the environment, we let them handle it.”